St. Louis County Cab?

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kruser

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Does anyone know what happened to the St. Louis County Cab data transmissions?

Not that I listened to them or anything (it was all a digital signal), but I did find their two data channels to be great for testing UHF antennas and what not.
About a month or two ago, the signals on 452.4500 and 452.5000 disappeared from the air. Poof, gone. I've parked a radio on both channels as well as another two their license shows but nothing heard.
They also modified thier license about the same time I noticed the missing signals but made no changes in frequency or location. I think it was an administrative update or maybe a modulation change. KRA538 was their callsign.
I used their signals a lot for antenna testing as they were very stable here and always on 24 hours per day. One tower was located just a few miles from my location and the other was out in High Ridge I think.

I've tried some FCC searches on the company name and it did not show anything different so I'm wondering if they sold out and are operating under a new name now. It's still hard to believe they could have switched radio systems so suddenly but maybe they have been working on it for some time now.
They were computer dispatched using consoles similar to the old MDT's but who knows how they are dispatching now.

If anyone knows, please share!

I guess I need to find another source of an always on UHF signal now.
 

scanman1958

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StL County Cab has a garage in Olivette off of Deilman Rd. They also have an antenna up there that, as far as I know, may still do the data transmissions for their onboard computers. From a few parking lots near there I would often get bleedover on channels in my scanner that did not have PL's entered. Was annoying but what the heck. I don't go up there much any more so I am not sure if they still the tower or not. FYI only.
 

kruser

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Yep, that is all still there. The signal did cause bleedover much like paging systems do as it was an always on trasnmission that ran at full modulation or deviation.
It was just odd that they modified their license to show compliance with the narrowbanding rules and then shortly after, the signal dissappeared!

They also have (had?) an antenna out in High Ridge on a shared tower out there. That also went dead.
I'd imagine they have moved off to some shared 800 or 900 MHz tower in the area. I wonder if they still use the old CabMate terminals in the cars or if all that was replaced by something more modern. I guess I need to take a peek the next time one delivers a package or drops off one of the workers. Their Cabmate system was unique and worked out pretty good for them but I think it was getting pretty old now. I remember when they installed it and the more I think about it, it was a pretty long time ago now.

Thanks for your insight regardless!

edit: I looked at the license again and see that they removed or deleted the location I'd said was High Ridge. It was actually a tower off of Highway 21 in JeffCo on tower road which is a distance from High Ridge.
 
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kruser

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I was finally able to catch a county cab driver the other day.
He said they switched to another system as others were intercepting their radio calls.
He showed me the radio and it is looked to be just a cellular radio modem. Just like the usb types you can plug into a laptop. It was mounted with velcro to the top of the data terminal display.
It looked like they were still using the same data terminals but I have not seen one in years so I'm not sure if it is still the old cabmate system just using a different radio to get the data.
It looked like the little radio was using the cellular networks though as I saw no external antenna goint to the device.

I guess someone figured out how to decode the cabmate signal and was using that info to steal their fares. The cabbie was hesitant to show it to me.
I did not see a mic hanging around the dash so I guess they removed the old radios as well but the old UHF antenna was still on this car.
 

kruser

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So, are any of the old channels in use? (data or anything?)
I'll throw them into something that logs for a week and let you know.
I've not heard a peep since I noticed them silent though but I have not sat anything on any of their licensed freqs for more than a minute or two.

They had just modified their license to reflect narrowbandwidth within days of going dark so maybe they have other plans or have held onto the freqs in case the new cellular radios do not work out.

Both of the old data signals were great references for testing UHF antenna performance as they were very stable signals at my location with one being fairly strong and the other about an S4 on an icom R9000 meter which was perfect for seeing if one antenna performed better over another.
Plus they were on the air 24x7. Oddly, they never caused the desense problems like paging towers usually cause. Maybe they did for those that lived right under the towers.
 

kruser

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So, are any of the old channels in use? (data or anything?)
Terry,

I have confirmed that at least 452.5500 is still being used for voice traffic. It also still shows up with a PL of 103.5.
I guess they just shut down the two data channels but leave the voice channel for when the drivers do not understand the instructions displayed on their data terminals.
I monitored all of their licensed channels and only the 452/457.550 repeater pair was found to still be active. I also see the database does not list a PL for the 452.550 Clayton base channel but I can confirm the base does send a 103.5 PL tone.

452.550 was actually pretty active still which surprised me. Of course cab monitoring is kind of like watching paint dry so I can't say I monitor them at all other than this little test. I'll still keep all the other channels running and logging for a few days just in case.
 

kruser

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So, are any of the old channels in use? (data or anything?)
Terry, I monitored all the licensed channels for a few more days.

452/7.400 and 452/7.550 are both still used for voice. They are not on a repeater but do use the common 5 MHz repeater split for the base to mobile and mobile to base. Both base signals also carry a 103.5 PL tone. I only heard a few mobiles near enough on the 457 side and those also had the 103.5 PL tone.

The two old data channels 452.450 and 452.500 have been silent. Their respective input frequencies of 457.450 and 457.500 have also been silent.

Who knows if they have plans for the two old data channels or not.

If you want to change anything in the database, maybe add the 103.5 PL into the 452.550 /457.550 pair.

With this, I'm done monitoring them!

Steve
 

kruser

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One last update! Before I turned the radios off, I noted some mobiles still emmiting data as they came into range. I heard them on both of the old channels listed as data but on the 457 side of the pair. Of course there is no data from the base any longer so they can never connect.
I guess they have not removed or turned off the old data radios from all of the cars yet. This was not heard very often either.
 
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